Convention of Reform Rabbis Hears Report on Israel

The 65th convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, reform, rabbinical body, opened here today with a presidential address by Dr. Joseph L. Fink of Buffalo, praising Israel, deploring ultra-ortho-doxy in Israel and condemning the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism.

Reporting on a visit he made to Israel earlier this year, Rabbi Fink told the convention: “Although there is anxiety in Israel, there is no fear.” He proceeded to praise the spirit of the Israelis, deplore extreme nationalism, express hope for the emergence of a liberal religious movement in Israel, and to denounce the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism.

The people of Israel display a “hardening of the moral fiber and a determined ambition” in spite of the daily crises confronting them, said the CCAR president. But the country “stands in sore need of two requirements.” The first need is material and supplying that need is “justice, not charity, ” observed the rabbi, pleading for greater support of the United Jewish Appeal.

The second need is that of peace and toward that end, Dr. Fink asked the rabbis to go on record demanding of the American Government that “it use its best offices speedily and resolutely to promote conditions” of a settlement of the disputes between Israel and her Arab neighbors.

Predicting a “great spiritual revival in Israel, ” Rabbi Fink indicated that there “are some areas in Israel where zeal for Orthodoxy is of an extreme character and runs so high that the neighbor who is not Orthodox is excluded from the teaching of “Love thy neighbor.’ ” The speaker assured his audience that “there are unmistakable signs of the diminution of Orthodoxy’s influence” on the Israelis. He recommended that the conference appoint a committee of men familiar with conditions in Israel to “formulate a program that might inspire the indigenous extension of liberal Judaism in Israel.”

Dr. Fink reserved his strongest utterances to assail the views and actions associated with the bitterly anti-Zionist American Council of Judaism. Without mentioning the organization by name, Dr. Fink asserted, “we lament the short-sightedness of those Jews who refuse to see the vital connection between the fate of Israel and the fate of world Jewry.”

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